[( 6 )] : Hanging

So, Saturday 5th July was the day of the hang. However, in the run up to that there was a lot of prep work to be done, not least of all ensuring everything was printed. Now, the other prep to be done will vary depending on the hanging method and the gallery, etc. but for mine, Dewald’s and Tanya’s work I was planning to use battens and velcro to attach the photographs to the wall - you can’t use velcro alone as it damages the walls. Keith used a dibond material, which is heavier so his are on sub-frames. Anyway, back to the prep - all of the battens had to be cut to length, pre-drilled (to avoid splitting the wood) and velcro attached to save time. I also gathered all the bits and bobs I thought I would need - saw, drill, screwdriver, tape measure, knife, rule, spare battens, spare velcro, screws, white cotton gloves... all sorts of stuff.

Bank Street Arts opened a little earlier than their normal 11:00 start to allow us to have a fighting chance at getting 6 photographers work up in the 5 gallery spaces. Tom from Bank Street was on hand at first to give some guidance to getting started, including the useful nugget of info that the accepted norm is that the centre of the photograph should be at a height of 157cm. Obviously, like any rules this one is made for being broken, but for the most part we stuck with it.

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Anyway, there were 3 of us (plus 2 wives) there for the hanging. I started with A Forest in Gallery 1, Keith started with Ironman Family in Gallery 5 and Nigel with Shattered Coast in Gallery 3. After sorting out the hanging order, the first photograph seemed to take an age to hang, but no, not really. As I was using prints mounted on forex (a kind of plastic foam board), velcro’ed onto battens which were screwed on to the walls (no idea what the wall was made of, but it didn’t need drilling and plugging), the process was really straight forward, made even more so because I had a laser level to hand that projected a perfectly square cross onto the walls, the centre of which was aligned variously to the centre height, the edge of the print or whatever. Because of this, hopefully everything I hung should be level, and all done quicker than if I’d used the string and spirit levels the others were using.

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With hindsight, I probably could’ve taken a couple more prints from A Forest, the space would have accepted them without feeling too crowded - another 2 would probably have been fine. However, I do think they need a bit of space to be seen in isolation - too close and there might have been a bit of a danger that the adjacent prints would have interfered with the narrative of the one being looked at.

Speak My Language
was a little more problematic to hang because the walls were not completely flat - this image is made up of two parts, and I wanted them butted up to make a single panel. With the wall being uneven, the corners of the right hand panel stood proud of the left. Taking it down and adding another batten with more velcro along the joining edge seems to have resolved it (a bit of cork or similar might be added next time I see it...)

After that, it was Dewald’s and Tanya’s work (Nigel hung some of Tanya’s), more battens and velcro and more of the same activities - measuring, marking, drilling, squaring up, fastening to the wall...

The gallery informed us they’d be tidying up the walls afterwards, rearranging the lighting, etc. so that was something we didn’t have to consider, good job really, because we kept them from closing for 10 minutes as we were finishing off. Still, job done, and I think it looked alright!

Note: in hindsight, we should have left some notes for the gallery staff as they changed some parts of the gallery between the hanging and the PV - I positioned two prints above some glass shelves that were fastened to the wall, rather than measuring where they should be. The shelves were taken down, and whilst they may well have been correctly spaced, I was sort of relying on them still being there, otherwise I would have done some more measuring. Maybe not a big problem, but there is a shadow of a doubt. Also, Pete’s work was hung deliberately 20cm lower than everyone else’s, but the gallery staff thought a mistake had been made and moved them up to the normal height - they were quite sorry when they realised why Keith had done what he had done... So yeah, post-its or a sheet of instructions would’ve been useful.

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